The situation in Maine when it comes to injury reporting for the workers’ comp system makes for a nice comparison with what we just saw in Kentucky. In Maine, there is not immediacy that we saw in Kentucky. If you remember, in Kentucky, employees had to notify employers immediately (or as close to that as possible) and then a state agency had to be contacted before the employee could go get medical help.
In Maine, the situation is a bit different. Employees who have been injured at work have up to 90 days after the day of the injury to tell their employers. This could mean you, their direct supervisor, or some other managerial rep of your company. That doesn’t mean of course that employees can do whatever they want in those 90 days as far as medical care is considered.
No, employees in Maine are still limited to medical care providers that you the employer has chosen. Yes, you the employer in Maine, possibly in conjunction with your workers’ comp insurance agency or your workers’ comp adjusting or administration company, can choose the medical care providers that your employees must use when seeking care for a work related injury. The employees must use these medical care providers for at least the first 10 days of their medical care.
After those first 10 days, employees can change the medical care provider that they’re going to. But they must first tell you that they are going to make that switch, and then also provide the name of the new medical care providers or provider.
Getting back to that first notice of injury, though, we should also make a quick note of how it’s up to you the employer to fill out those first reports of injury forms we just talked about. When you do it, it’s the law that you give a copy to your employee.
Maine has its own workers’ comp program and set of laws as does every other state in the Union. And the ultimate purpose of the program and laws is the same the country over. It is to protect Maine employees when they get hurt on the job, and make sure they receive the proper medical treatment and compensation for any time missed from work.
In Maine, these workers’ comp protections more specifically can include a weekly payment for any lost time from work because of the workers’ injury. It can include the payment of medical bills, any prescription costs for pain killers and other medicines, and any other related medical costs. The workers’ comp benefits can even include monetary compensation for a loss of a body part.
When it comes to getting the workers back to their jobs, Maine workers’ comp law affords injured employees money from their employers for any sort of vocational rehabilitation they may require to get them back to their job. This can include such things as job retraining if they need to pick up another occupation because they can’t do their old one, and job placement if they need to find a completely different employer because of it.
You the Maine employer can also face costs if the injured worker cannot return to work, permanently. And I am not talking about permanently as in sitting on their couch for the rest of their lives. I am talking about passing away. In this case, employers are responsible for paying death benefits to their employees’ families to make up for the lost wages of that employee.
If any of these benefits come into question—and you do not agree or your insurance company does not agree to pay them—then Maine has what is called a Troubleshooter for the injured employees. The Troubleshooter contacts the employee when a problem arises and tries to help them and you resolve it. If that doesn’t happen, the Troubleshooter will hold a mediation, or even a formal hearing.
The Maine code governing travel expenses defines those bound to mileage reimbursement as all state officers, employees, and volunteers that agencies have legal authority to utilize, unless otherwise provided by law. Persons other than state officers and employees, where travel expenses are authorized by statute but the statute is silent as to amount Contractors, unless there are specific contractual arrangements modifying travel reimbursement. In addition claimants of Workers Compensation benefits.
Reimbursable transportation expenses include the costs of all necessary business travel on railroads, airlines, ships, buses, private motor vehicles, and other usual means of conveyance. The agency head, or authorized designee may authorize the use of a privately owned motor vehicle in the conduct of official state business when it is more advantageous or economical to the state that a person travel by a privately-owned vehicle rather than a common carrier or a state owned or operated passenger motor vehicle. The current mileage allowance is $.36 per mile except for employees who are handicapped and who operate their own personal wheelchair lift or other specially equipped vehicle, than the rate is $.45 per mile.
If you are injured on the job your employer will pay for medicine and for mileage to and from your visits to health care providers at the current state rate. If you choose to seek independent medical examination your employer is only required to reimburse you for travel at $.26 per mile.
If you travel frequently for work than you are probably aware of your companies travel regulations. If you do not travel regularly than you may want to discuss these policies beforehand so that you are aware of what is reimbursable. Keep in mind that travel expenses that are not paid may be tax deductible. If however you are reimbursed and the amount falls within federal standards you do not have to report that money as income